VOLUME XVIV, No. 7
PUBLISHED BY THE ORNITHOLOGY GROUP, OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB, HOUSTON, TEXAS
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL RETURNS TO TEXAS CITY DIKE-by Noel Pettingell
On Oetober 2? Ben Feltner observed what many local birders believe to be the third annual appearance of the same individual Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Texas City dike.
When a dark-mantled gull was initially discovered at this site on March 1, 1969, it was
at first thought to be a Western Gull. However, by March 28, when the gull was last
seen that spring, the possibility that it could have been a Lesser Blaek-backed had been
suggested. The controversy over which species the bird actually was continued until
November 28, 1969, when presumably the same gull once again appeared at the dike. By
March 21, 1970—the last appearance of the species until October 2?—it was generally
agreed that the gull was a Lesser Black-backed whieh most likely had first strayed into
our area in the fall of 1968, The bird apparently was a third-year sub-adult when it
was first observed and photographed in March of 1969, and it is anticipated that more
definitive color photos can be obtained if the gull remains in the Texas City area until
next spring. Likewise, birders who have not yet had the opportunity of adding this
rare North American visitor to their life lists now have another ohanee to do so.
To my knowledge there has never been a documented occurrence of the Western Gull in
Texas and only these three previous sight records of vagrant dark-backed gulls in the
state; Great Blaek-backed Gull at Rockport February 22-27, 1949, and February 23, 1953.
Lesser Black-baeked Gull at Port Aransas March 28, 1952.
Previous references to the Texas City dike gull appeared in the following issues of the
March 1969 (p. 5)
April " (p. 5)
May " (p. 7)
June 1969 (p. 5)
Aug, " (p, 2)
Nov, " (pp. 1-5)
ATTRACTING HUMMINGBIRDS-by Maxine Wenger
My attempts at luring hummers into our yard with commercial feeders have never been
successful. I have used two types of feeders as well as open small jars filled with
sweetened water. When the hummers started coming again to our neighborhood in August,
it was the trumpet vine and turkseap they came to visit. I decided to put a false
trumpet "flower" on the trumpet vine and fill it with sugar water.
A couple of plastic peppers, red and yellow in color, were found at a nearby dime store
and easily installed on the vine. The hummers fell for it and soon favored the red and
yellow plastic "flowers" over the real orange ones. Next I installed an orange-colored
plastic squash, as it was easier to clean and required fewer refills.
Later, feeders made from an orange, apple, pomegranate and tomato were hung from our
roof overhang by windows. All have been successful, and we've enjoyed watching the
birds feed at very close range. The birds seem to favor the feeders with two or three
holes cut in the side, and some have perched while feeding.
At times we have seen around 15 birds in the back yard fussing over the feeders. The
birds started to diminish in number around mid-October when the first cool fronts came
in. As of November 1 we still have two or three birds, perhaps more.
Threeneighbor families have installed fruit feeders and report similar activity in their
yards. So far, only five mature mal* Rubythroats have been sighted, the rest being female and immatures. Twice we've glimpled rufous colored birds, but they didn't stay long